Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ed Roberts Day 2017 - January 23rd - Empowering Advocates and Activists for People with Disabilities


Ed Roberts was both an advocate and an activist. He was a leader in the civil rights movement and championed the rights of people with disabilities. He was the founder of the first Center for Independent Living and the World Institute on Disability. Ed advocated for his right to attend a university and was a activist in the 504 sit-in held in San Francisco. He was known for a lot of things by a lot of people, but most importantly he believed in empowering others to become advocates and activists.
Ed Roberts Day 2017 is celebrated by a dedicated website, and is A Project of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers at: http://yodisabledproud.org/ed-roberts-day/   

Please join a Twitter Chat on Monday, January 23rd - 3pm EST/1pm Central/12pm PST!
Tweeting about the importance of Ed and mentors like him in the disability community.
#MyMentorEd #EdRobertsDay17

For more information, videos, interviews on Ed Roberts amazing journey, we have numerous posts over the years:

Webinar Feb 9th: Engaging Emergency Management Leadership to be Champions of Disability Integration and Inclusive Planning

The Commonwealth of Virginia has learned that a whole community approach to emergency management requires leadership that promotes and champions inclusive emergency planning and disability integration. When leadership is not convinced of the necessity of whole community planning, inclusive planning, policy changes, and disability integration is extremely challenging. However, when leadership becomes champions of whole community emergency management, amazing results can be achieved. This webinar will review how the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) achieved an engaged, supportive leadership VDEM has achieved great and the resulting successes in whole community emergency management that engagement provided.

February 9th, 2017

Webinars begin at 2.30pm ET/1.30pm CT/12.30 pm MT/11.30am PT/9.30am Hawaii.
Registration: Free on-line at http://www.adapresentations.org/registration.php

Come hear this webinar covering some of the most significant results of Virginia's leading from the top approach including:
  • Creation of the Access and Functional Needs Advisory Committee
  • Functional and Access Needs Network
  • Disability Partner calls during emergency response operations and recovery
  • Establishment of Functional and Access Needs Support Teams volunteer programs in partnership with the Medical Reserve Corps
  • Ensuring accessibility of shelters and the sheltering program was written in to the job description of the new State Sheltering Coordinator position
  • Including access and functional needs considerations in the development of the new statewide sheltering strategy
  • Including a certified ADA Coordinator in review of the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan and Annexes
Learning objectives:
  • Learn how leadership can move disability inclusion and integration forward.
  • Learn how to turn leadership into champions of change for disability inclusion and integration.
  • Learn how state emergency management agencies can lead from the top down with local agencies
  • Learn what leadership needs to be involved and why.
  • Learn about what Virginia is doing to ensure equal access to their emergency programs and planning.
Presenters:
Dawn Brantley is the Sheltering Coordinator and Acting Director of External Affairs for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management where her responsibilities include developing a comprehensive, state-wide strategic approach for sheltering operations and ensuring sheltering programs are accessible to everyone. Ms. Brantley previously served as Regional Inclusive Emergency Planner for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and as Emergency Programs Manager for the Office of Emergency Management in Anchorage, Alaska. She has also served as a Disability Integration Advisor in FEMA's Reservist program and is a certified ADA Coordinator.
These 90 minute webinars are delivered using the Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform. Collaborate downloads files to your machine in order to run. We recommend that you prepare your technology prior to the start of the session. You may need the assistance of your IT Staff if firewalls prevent you from downloading files.

To view all of the sessions for the coming year, or to see previous sessions, go to http://www.adapresentations.org/schedule.php
The information presented in this webinar is intended solely as informal guidance, and is neither a determination of legal rights or responsibilities by NIDILRR or FEMA.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

President Barack Obama last email - 'Thank You'

With a week where we now have a new U.S. President in the White House, It's a honor to share the last email from President Obama as his administration comes to end of it's term.
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My fellow Americans,

It's a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It's a letter meant to share what we know, what we've learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.

But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I've learned in my time in office, I've learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.

Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I've pulled strength. I've seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers -- and found grace in a Charleston church.

I've taken heart from the hope of young graduates and our newest military officers. I've seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and wounded warriors once given up for dead walk again. I've seen Americans whose lives have been saved because they finally have access to medical care, and families whose lives have been changed because their marriages are recognized as equal to our own. I've seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees, or work for peace, and, above all, to look out for each other.

I've seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I've seen our future unfolding.

All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work -- the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there's an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

I'll be right there with you every step of the way.

And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.' 'We the People.' 'We shall overcome.'

Yes, we can.

President Barack Obama


Source: White House email list

Webinar (Jan. 31 and Feb. 2): Final Rule Updating the Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines


laptop with Access Board sealThe U.S. Access Board will conduct a free webinar on its recent final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. The webinar will take place on January 31 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET).  It will be repeated on February 2 from 2:30 to 4:00 (ET), but registration is limited.  Both webinars will be recorded and archived.
Presenters will provide an overview of the rule's scope and structure, highlight substantive changes, and answer questions from attendees. The Section 508 Standards apply to electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained or used by the federal government. The Section 255 Guidelines address access to telecommunications products and services and apply to manufacturers of telecommunications equipment.
For further information or to register, follow these links:
• January 31 webinar: www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/session/?id=110610
• February 2 webinar: www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110588
The webinars are provided by the ADA National Network and the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

U.S. Access Board Publishes Updated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Requirements in the Federal Register


Section 508 and 255 Refresh with reload iconOn January 18, 2017 Federal Resister, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule that updates accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. The Board released an advance copy of the rule on its website last week.

The rule jointly updates and reorganizes the Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines to advance accessibility, facilitate compliance, and harmonize the requirements with other standards in the U.S. and abroad. The Section 508 standards apply to ICT procured, developed, maintained, or used by federal agencies. The Communications Act guidelines cover telephones, cell phones, pagers, computers with modems and other telecommunications equipment.

Further information, including an overview of the rule, is available on the Board's website.

City of Chicago Expanding Mental Health Training After Scathing DOJ Report

Chicago is bolstering its response to emergencies involving people suffering from mental illness to address glaring deficiencies laid bare by the Justice Department.

article by Fran Spielman, for the Chicago Sun-Times | Jan. 16. 2017               
An eight-hour course developed in partnership with EMS System Hospitals will allow paramedics, 911 personnel, police officers and mental health providers to engage in live, “scenario-based” simulations at Fire Academy South, 1338 S. Clinton.

The morning class covers psychiatric and behavioral emergencies, signs and symptoms and recommended treatment. The afternoon covers “simulation scenarios” — complete with talking mannequins and actors posing as patients.

A simulation Monday featured a woman in a bar who was disoriented after failing to take her medication.

“Not every case is the same. Sometimes, you’ll have a behavioral emergency that mimics a medical emergency,” said Leslee Stein-Spencer, director of medical administration and regulatory compliance for the Chicago Fire Department.

“You respond together. Together, you can make a determination whether the patient should be transported to a hospital or a mental health care facility. It’s a team approach.”

Alexa James, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, said the eight-hour course is different than the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training certification because it’s “inter-agency” and “scenario-based.”

“If an officer responds to a scene and so does the fire department, do people know who is supposed to take this person and what they’re supposed to do? This is learning what everybody is supposed to do,” James said.

Last year, the police shootings of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce a 50 percent increase in crisis intervention training for police officers and at least one CIT officer in every district on every watch.

The plan also called for full Crisis Intervention Training certification for all field training officers and newly promoted officers; eight hours of in-service training on mental health awareness for all police officers and improved training for all 911 operators and dispatchers.

A 911 dispatcher hung up on LeGrier and failed to dispatch police in response to the young man’s pleas for help.

When Chicago Police officers did respond, they shot and killed the bat-wielding LeGrier and accidentally killed his neighbor, Bettie Jones.

In its scathing indictment, the Justice Department concluded that the Chicago Police Department “uses force against people in crisis where force might have been avoided had a well-trained CIT officer responded to the scene and employed de-escalation techniques.”

Documentation of those incidents was “often insufficient to determine whether force was necessary, appropriate or lawful,” the report said. As a result, all that is known are the “broad contours of terribly sad events” where officers used force against people in crisis.

“In one case, officers used a Taser against an unarmed, naked 65-year-old woman who had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia,” the report stated.

“Officers used a Taser to subdue a mental [health patient] who ignored verbal commands because he was believed to be a danger to himself and others. . . . Officers who were responding to a call that a woman was ‘off meds and not violent’ Tasered an unarmed woman because she pulled away and repeatedly moved her arm.”

At the same time Emanuel is vowing to deliver CIT training to 35 percent of the police force by the end of this year, the Justice Department said the mayor has reduced the number of officers charged with delivering that training from nine people in 2008 to three people today.

“CPD has not dedicated adequate resources to the CIT unit, thereby limiting its effectiveness and failing to achieve the promises of effective crisis intervention,” the report concluded.

“Because the staff . . . is now consumed with increased training demands, it is even more difficult for them to perform other critical functions, including conducting evaluations and follow-up.”

The city’s “commendable desire for a rapid development” of the CIT program “should not come at the expense of the quality” of its CIT response, the report stated.

“Effective crisis response requires a Police Department to designate and train certain officers to be members of the CIT and dispatch the officers to all crisis intervention calls,” the report states.

“It is important that all CIT officers have volunteered for this assignment. Officers who volunteer are more likely to have a deeper interest in and commitment to working with people in crisis and they are more likely to develop proficiency and expertise.”

Last year, the City Council authorized a $4.95 million settlement to the family of a 38-year-old man who suffered a mental breakdown, was shocked 13 times with a Taser and was subsequently handcuffed and dragged from his cell by Chicago Police officers. A federal judge ruled that the incident, which was caught on video, amounted to “brute force.”

When Philip Coleman’s parents reportedly pleaded with the officers to take their son to Jackson Park Hospital because of his aggressive and bizarre behavior, a sergeant told them, “We don’t do hospitals. We do jail.”

On Monday, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson was asked whether police officers have changed the cavalier attitude exemplified by the Coleman case and in the 2006 death of Christina Eilman.

Chicago taxpayers spent $22.5 million to compensate Eilman, the mentally ill California woman who was arrested at Midway Airport in 2006, then released in a high-crime neighborhood where she was sexually assaulted before falling or being pushed from a CHA high-rise.

“It’s my challenge as the superintendent to ensure that we give these officers the best training around,” he said.

“Because we are ensuring that they have that, when they meet these types of incidents, they’ll know how to properly respond to it. . . . We owe it to every citizen of Chicago to give them the best service that we can. Part of it is being able to identify people in mental health crisis.”
http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/city-bolsters-mental-health-training-after-scathing-doj-report/

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ADA Accommodation Rules Don't Rule Out Competition for Jobs; Federal Appeals Court Decides

A decision by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Ga., says employers are not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to surrender the search for the best qualified candidate for a job when considering a disability accommodation job transfer request from a disabled employee.

article written by Dawn Geske for the Cook County Record | Jan. 13, 2017
And since the result differs from a ruling on a similar question in the Chicago-based U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the question may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Eleventh Circuit decision came in the case U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, Inc., in which a disabled nurse looked to be transferred, under an ADA accommodation, into a new position after a disability left her needing to use a cane, which proved to be a safety issue in the psychiatric ward in which she worked.

While the nurse was allowed to apply for other positions at the hospital, she was required to go through the hiring process and compete against other applicants for the job. When she failed to secure one of the positions she had applied for, she was terminated by the hospital.

The EEOC filed suit asking the court to determine whether under the ADA, the hospital would be required under the ADA to reassign her to another position without subjecting her to competition for those jobs from other applicants.

The Eleventh Circuit ruled the ADA does not require job reassignment without allowing an employer to hire the best qualified or giving special treatment to an individual that has a disability.

“Employers that are situated in the Eleventh Circuit would not, at least under federal law, have to deviate from the best-qualified candidate policy," Bryan T. Symes, attorney at Ruder Ware, told the Cook County Record. “In other words, disabled individuals are not going to be given preferential treatment. They would be on equal footing with all other candidates for the position.”

The Eleventh Circuit includes the states of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

The Eleventh Circuit decision strays away from the ruling in the Seventh Circuit's ruling in EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., in which the court found reasonable accommodation may include hiring a disabled person while forgoing a typical hiring process.

The Seventh Circuit decision provides more restriction to employers located in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana under the ADA, also where Symes practices.

“I have to tell my clients here that they cannot rule out reassignment to a vacant position and deviate from their best candidate policy as a form of reasonable accommodation according to the Seventh Circuit," Symes said.

The differences in rulings by the courts boil down to different interpretations of the ADA by judges of differing backgrounds and political stances.

“There’s no question that across the country there are more conservative and more liberal-leaning judges that are on the bench and this is precisely why we have the Supreme Court,” said Symes.

As to how the Supreme Court would rule on this issue today based on an even partisan split on the court, Symes said: “It’s hard to say. It would be difficult to predict.”
But after President-elect Donald Trump becomes president Jan. 20, and appoints what is expected to be a conservative justice to the court, Symes said it could be likely that “the Eleventh Circuit position would prevail.” But, he said, “It’s really had to say.”
 http://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/511070581-federal-appeals-court-ada-accommodation-rules-don-t-rule-out-competition-for-jobs-scotus-could-decide

"THESE 30 PLAYS" FULLY ACCESSIBLE TO BLIND PEOPLE in Chicago Jan 22nd


As part of the Neo-Access initiative, The Neo-Futurists will present a performance of our long-standing, ever-changing brand of brash, funny, poignant and relevant theater that is fully accessible to audience members who are blind or have visual impairments. "These 30 Plays" will include audio description, braille and large print programs and a touch tour before the show. 

This Neo-Access production will take place Sunday, January 22nd @ 7:00pm, at our own 2nd floor space in The Neo-Futurarium (5153 N. Ashland). Touch tour begins at 5:30pm. To request assistance in entering/leaving our space, details of the neighborhood, or other information, contact us at 773-878-4557, or email admin@neofuturists.org. 

Service animals are also welcome, just let us know if you plan on bringing one! 

Click HERE  to buy a ticket. 


SOURCE: Press Release 

Illinois "Equine Dreams" Uses Horses To Help Those with Disabilities

YouTube published by Equine Dreams
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Article by Cathy Janek,  for The Beacon-News | Jan. 2017     
Windy Kopecky began volunteering for Equine Dreams when she was a college student at Northern Illinois University in 1998.

Over the years, she has moved farther and farther away from the nonprofit's 15-acre property in Newark. However, today even with a commute of about an hour and a half, Kopecky continues to volunteer for the organization, serve on its board, and is the head riding instructor—something she became certified to do in 2003.

Founded in 1996, by the parents of a child with special needs, Equine Dreams is run by an all-volunteer staff and doesn't charge its clients for services.

Each week, the organization provides therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted activities and therapies to more than 100 children and adults with disabilities.

In 2015, the organization's volunteers logged in more than 94,000 hours, Equine Dreams officials said.

Some like riding instructor Barb Wrobel said she volunteers for children who may not be able to sit up by themselves; however, "when they are riding their horse, they sit so tall with a smile on their face and joy in their hearts."

Mare Tebrugge, a volunteer for more than 16 years said, "spending a day at Equine Dreams, among all the other volunteers, is the most uplifting day you will ever have."

All of Equine Dreams horses are certified by the national group Pet Partners.

"The horses have to pass a test to ensure they handle all the situations they are put into," Kopecky said.

In the process of raising funds to build two new barns on its 15-acre property, last year the organization was able to raise enough money to build the shells of the buildings, however, it is seeking to raise an additional $200,000 to complete the project.

Equine Dreams recently received two grants --one from the Leland Lions Club for $2,500 and another from the Community Foundation of Fox Valley for $10,000.

The Community Foundation grant will be used to purchase a tractor.

"A tractor keeps Equine Dreams future operating costs down through allowing us to manage our property independently. We will not have to hire someone to plow our drive in the winter, and will be able to manage our pastures and maintain our sensory trail." Kopecky said.

The Lions Club grant will be used toward the new barns which will include a new hay barn, larger indoor arena, a parent viewing room, indoor mounting area, stalls, and tack room.

"An indoor arena would prevent us from having to cancel lessons due to inclement weather or have students regress over the winter," she added.

There are so many benefits to therapeutic horseback riding and being around horses in general, Kopecky said.

"Our mission is to nurture the abilities of individuals and to provide the services without putting more of a financial burden on these families," she said.

When it began, the primary focus of Equine Dreams was to provide therapeutic horseback riding. Today, the program has evolved to also include several different types of equine assisted activities and therapies, she added.

"One of the biggest demands we have now is for visits from our miniature horses," Kopecky said. "We saw a need for serving individuals who for whatever reason couldn't come to us."

Equine Dreams' four miniature horses, Teddy, Levi, Maggie, and Beauty go out into the community visiting area hospitals and nursing homes.

At Central DuPage Hospital, the horses visit the pediatric oncology unit. These horses also visit Marklund Day School as well as one of its residential facilities.

"We work side-by-side with their physical, occupational, or speech therapist to help them work on their goals for the week," Kopecky said.

Activities such as brushing a horse can expand a person's range of motion, she said. For individuals who need to regain their walking strength, equine therapy can be having that individual lead a horse down a hallway.

Horseback riding works so well as a therapy option, because riding a horse provides three dimensional movement in your hips which mimics the same movements that occur when walking on the ground, she said.

For people that are working on physical disabilities, Kopecky said riding a horse can build their flexibility, work on their balance, and helps strengthen core muscles.

In 2014, Equine Dreams created a sensory trail on its property.

"It is a fun way for them to process sensory input—colors, sounds, and textures and engage in their surroundings," she said. "They have so much fun riding on the trail they don't even realize they are working,"

Cathy Janek is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News
Copyright © 2017, Aurora Beacon-News

For more information, visit Equine Dreams: http://www.equinedreams.org/

The Chicago Violence Perpetrated Against Young Man with Disabilities Demonstrates Urgent Need to Address Hate-Based Crimes

With the many posts via the internet, and in the press on the terrible crime the young Man with Special Needs ‘Tied Up & Tortured’ on Facebook Live in Chicago. Some have been for the right reasons, some have appeared for personnel agendas, some have been just to say the the author posted something.  The Press Release from Equip for Equality is own track on how people with disabilities are victims of hate crimes, yet is not recognized as such. 
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As the federally-mandated Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities in Illinois, Equip for Equality is deeply troubled by the recent news of a savage attack upon a young man with disabilities in Chicago. Unfortunately, this incident highlights a tragic, but well-documented fact: People with disabilities are far more likely to be the victims of crime and violence than are people without disabilities. Moreover, research indicates that violent crimes, such as sexual abuse, are not only more prevalent among people with disabilities, but an alarmingly low number of these cases are investigated and prosecuted. See Morano, Sexual Abuse of the Mentally Retarded Patient, 130; Psychiatric News, Aaron Levin, People with Mental Illness More Often Crime Victims, http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/pn.40.17.00400016 . Currently, local law enforcement agencies report to the Illinois State Police on the number of hate crime incidents reported. The data collected does not include the number of hate crimes actually prosecuted.

This horrific attack thus reinforces the need to effectively address hate-related violence against people with disabilities. The State of Illinois has established the Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes for the express purpose of identifying and eradicating discrimination and hate-based violence. The Commission is statutorily required to make recommendations and annually report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the changes necessary to eliminate discrimination and hate-based violence.  However, there are no members appointed to the Commission and no reports have been produced for well over a decade.  Equip for Equality therefore strongly urges:
  • The Governor to immediately and fully reconstitute the Commission by appointing a chair and the required number of members and take all actions necessary to ensure that the Commission’s responsibilities are fully carried out. 
  • The Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes Act to be amended to make clear that violence based on physical or mental disability falls within the purview and charge of the Commission.
  • Law enforcement agencies to be required to report on the number of hate crimes against people with disabilities that are prosecuted as compared to the number of hate crimes against individuals without disabilities that are prosecuted.
  • Training to be provided to law enforcement agencies beyond the Illinois State Police on how to identify, respond to and report hate crimes against people with disabilities
  • Training to be provided to prosecutors on the proper investigation and prosecution of hate crimes against people with disabilities.
SOURCE: Press Release Jan. 12, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chicago Commission on Human Relations Updates 2017 Disability Rights Regulations to Improve Access for All Individuals


Revised Regulations Align with ADA and Provides Clarity for Businesses to Become More Accessible to People with All Types of Disabilities
Jan. 12, 2017 - The Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR) Board of Commissioners today approved updated disability rights regulations under the City's Chicago Human Rights Ordinance (CHRO). These newly revised regulations, effective July 1, 2017, are designed to improve citywide accessibility for all residents and visitors through added clarity to existing disability protections. These changes will, in turn, help businesses make their goods and services more accessible for people with all types of disabilities.
This latest action in a series of reforms and regulations by the Emanuel Administration is designed to ensure that people with disabilities can access the wide array of goods and services offered by Chicago businesses and fully enjoy the amenities our city has to offer.
"Our top priority is to ensure that Chicago is inclusive for all people, and these changes are intended to eliminate confusion on the law to make it easier for businesses to serve people with disabilities," said CCHR Chair and Commissioner Mona Noriega. "We believe the clarity will be embraced by businesses, and we are committed to working with them on implementation so they can better serve all of their patrons."
The revised regulations stand to improve citywide accessibility by spelling out what businesses must do to make their facilities, information, goods and services accessible to people with all types of disabilities. It does so, in large part, by adopting the requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which have applied to these businesses since 1992.
The revised regulations specify requirements for businesses, including:
  • Provide auxiliary aids and services where needed to ensure effective communication with customers who are deaf or hard of hearing (i.e. these vary from customer to customer but include things such as sign language interpreters, captioning and use of TTY's and the telephone relay system);
  • Allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities into their establishments;
  • Provide documents and other information in alternative formats - such as electronic formats, Braille or large print, when needed by people who are blind or have visual impairments;
  • Remove any eligibility criteria that would screen out or tend to screen out people with disabilities who want to gain access to the goods and services they provide;
  • And, make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices and procedures to ensure that people with disabilities have access to their goods and services. (This may be as simple as reading a menu to a person who is blind, or provided assistance getting objects off high shelves.)
The ultimate goal of this CCHR initiative, developed in partnership with the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), is to help make the City of Chicago more accessible for people with disabilities, By providing businesses with a clear and precise set of local rules that govern the actions of covered businesses, the City hopes to encourage greater compliance with the CHRO and to increase opportunities for businesses to work with customers with disabilities.
"The revised regulations supports our goal of ensuring every single person with a disability living in or visiting our city has the resources they need to enjoy the quality restaurants, retail and other services that makes Chicago a top destination to live and visit," said Karen Tamley, Commissioner to the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. "By making the laws easier to understand, our businesses stand to improve their service, and in turn, the likelihood for people with disabilities to live more independently."
To prepare for the launch of the revised regulations, the CCHR has been coordinating efforts with MOPD as well as the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) to reach as many businesses as possible. The revised regulations apply to retail stores, restaurants, theaters, service businesses and commercial entities citywide. Coupled with a comprehensive outreach campaign to help businesses understand and implement the new requirements, the CHRO will better serve residents with all needs, and will avoid adding new or contradictory regulatory burdens to businesses by aligning its mandates with the ADA.
For more information on the new regulations, please visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/humanrelations.
For technical assistance on this regulation and the corresponding requirements of the ADA, residents can contact the MOPD's Accessibility Compliance Unit at (312) 744-4441.
SOURCE: Press Release
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Webinar January 19th: Modern Web Accessibility - revisiting fundamentals and looking at new challenges

The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the Pacific ADA Center are pleased to announce January’s Accessible Technology Session titled “Modern Web Accessibility - revisiting fundamentals and looking at new challenges.” The webinar will be both a refresher course on tried and true accessibility techniques as well as a fresh look at web accessibility challenges facing today’s web design requirements. While awareness of web accessibility is increasing, it can often be an overwhelming thing to implement. This webinar will provide an overview of web accessibility with specific things that you can begin to implement today. It will also provide an overview of tools and resources for evaluating your site's current accessibility.

Speaker Beth Lund Technology Accessibility Specialist at Ashford University

Date: Thursday, January 19, 2017
Time: 2:00-3:30pm ET
Cost: No Charge

Registration: www.ada-accessibletech.org (if you don’t have an account in our system you will be prompted to set up an account prior to registration)

Closed captioning is available via the webinar platform.

Questions regarding this program should be directed to 877-232-1990 V/TTY or by email to webinars@adaconferences.org

ADA-Legal Webinar January 18th : Top ADA Cases of 2016

The Great Lakes ADA Center is pleased to announce January’s ADA Legal Webinar Session titled “Top ADA Cases of 2016”. Courts across the country decided a number of significant ADA cases in 2016, and this session will provide an in-depth review of the top ADA cases from the past year. In addition to reviewing the specific facts and ruling in each case, there will also be a discussion of the impact these cases may have on future ADA litigation. This webinar will cover a wide variety of ADA issues under Titles I, II and III. Start the New Year off right with a better understanding of the most important ADA cases decided in 2016!

Speakers:
Barry Taylor  Equip for Equality
Rachel Weisberg  Equip for Equality

Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Time: 2:00-3:30pm ET
Cost: No Charge

Registration: www.ada-legal.org (if you don’t have an account in our system you will be prompted to set up an account prior to registration)

Closed captioning is available via the webinar platform.

Questions regarding this program should be directed to 877-232-1990 V/TTY or by email to webinars@adaconferences.org

Webinar Feb 3rd: Announcements from the Disability Employment field, Latest Jobs Report


The first episode of Season Two of the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar Series, detailing findings of the latest Jobs Report release, announcements from the Disability Employment field, and a guest presentation by Jane Boone, Employment Consultant and retired Washington State DDD, Jobs by 21 Partnership Project Manager, is now available online. It also marked the first episode of our new host, Michael Murray, from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). You can view the webinar, download the audio and read the transcript of the webinar.

The next nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar will take place on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 12 noon EST
Learn more about the January Jobs Report and how it fits into longer term employment trends, hear about programs and research across the country addressing employment and disability, and listen to Emily Harris from the Chicago Community Trust talk about their work to increase disability employment through philanthropy.
Register for the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar
About the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar
The Employment Policy & Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (EPM-RRTC) at the University of New Hampshire, in partnership with Kessler Foundation and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) have launched a monthly webinar. On the first Friday of every month, corresponding with the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, we will be offering a live broadcast via Zoom Webinar to share the results of the latest nTIDE findings. In addition, we will provide news and updates from the field of Disability Employment, as well as host an invited panelist who will discuss current disability related findings and events. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #nTIDElearn.

WEBINAR January 17th: How ACA Repeal and Medicaid Reform Will Impact People with Disabilities And What You Can Do!

Join national and state-level disability advocates for a webinar focused on one of the most pressing issues facing people with disabilities: Congressional effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and convert federal Medicaid funding into block grants.

Advocates based in Washington, DC will provide a report on what they are observing on Capitol Hill, and discuss what will happen next.  Advocates based in various states will discuss their work to educate lawmakers and grassroots people about the importance of these healthcare programs for people with disabilities. The ADA Legacy Project's DisBeat will provide advice on collecting personal healthcare stories from people with disabilities and how to build a guerilla marketing campaign to call attention to our issues.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Time: 3:30-5 pm Eastern / 2:30-4 pm Central / 1:30-3 pm Mountain
12:30-2 pm Pacific / 11:30 am-1 pm Alaska / 10:30 am-12 noon Hawaii

National speakers: Lindsay Baran, National Council on Independent Living (others TBD)

State-level speakers: Florida, Massachusetts, Texas (still confirming)

Media: The ADA Legacy Project's DisBeat

You will not want to miss this! Those across the states interested in healthcare for people with disabilities will want to join in.  We can and will galvanize disability electoral power as we head into a new Administration by being informed and empowered. Join your brothers and sisters from across the nation.

This webinar is free of charge and made possible with support from the National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA), The ADA Legacy Project, Access Living, the NDLA Organizers Forum, and the Great Lakes ADA Center.

HOW TO JOIN THE WEBINAR:

This session will be available on-line via the Blackboard Collaborate System.   This system is accessible to individuals who use screen readers or other forms of assistive technology.   Closed captioning is available within the platform as well.  Individuals using assistive technology, especially screen readers are encouraged to review information about the platform and how it works available on-line at THIS LINK.

If you are unfamiliar with the webinar platform and wonder if your computer system will be compatible you can review information that is available on-line at THIS LINK. Instructions are available on this page for testing the configuration of your computer and the requirements.  We recommend you review this information prior to the session.

There is also a Blackboard Collaborate App available for Mobile Devices including Android, Apple and Kindle Fire HD.  You can download the app in advance of the session from either Google Play, Amazon or ITunes.  Note that there is limited accessibility of the App in terms of access to captioning, etc.    If using the app, launch the URL from your mobile device and that will open the App (if loaded on your mobile device).

TO CONNECT TO THE SESSION:  

Use THIS LINK  (This link is active 45 minutes prior to the start of the session)
Audio will be broadcast via your computer/app if you have speakers/headphones attached.
Closed captioning is available via the webinar platform (not accessible from the Mobile App)

TELEPHONE OPTION OR AUDIO:  1-866-854-6779  Passcode:  *3956839* (This is a toll free line)

ASKING QUESTIONS DURING THE WEBINAR:  Questions during the live webinar can be submitted via the chat area within the webinar platform or if you are listening by phone and not connected to the platform you can submit your questions by email to webinars@adaconferences.org and the organizers will receive your questions for consideration during the webinar.

If you experience technical problems accessing the webinar please call 877-232-1990 (V/TTY) for assistance.

Questions regarding the content of the webinar should be directed to Amber Smock at Access Living, at asmock@accessliving.org.

Justice Dept Seeks to Intervene in Lawsuit Over Denial of Rights to Florida Inmates with Disabilities

Jan. 9, 2017 - The Justice Department announced today that it has moved to intervene in Disability Rights Florida Inc., v. Julie Jones, a private lawsuit alleging that the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) failed to protect the rights of inmates with disabilities in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In the motion, filed in the Northern District of Florida, the department seeks to join a case brought by Disability Rights Florida Inc. (DRF), a private protection and advocacy group. In the lawsuit, DRF alleges, among other things, that FDOC has excluded inmates with disabilities from its programs, services and activities. DRF also alleges that FDOC failed to provide the means for effective communication for inmates with hearing loss. In the motion, the United States highlighted its substantial legal interest in the outcome of DRF’s case because the department is the primary agency responsible for enforcing the ADA.
“The ADA and Section 504 afford all people with disabilities, including prisoners, the right to fair treatment and effective communication,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “We believe our participation in this case will help to ensure a just outcome for all.”
For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.

Florida DOC Motion to Intervene

Florida DOC Complaint in Intervention

SOURCE: Press Release 01/09/2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ACTION ALERT! We're all in the Healthcare Fight for Our Lives!

The U.S. Congress is on the fast track to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  There are many, many advocates fighting to preserve the insurance provisions of the ACA - known as ObamaCare, but virtually no one is talking about the disability-specific aspects of the law.  Here are four important provisions in the ACA that are critical for the Disability Community.

1. The ACA prohibited discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions by insurance companies.

2. The ACA extended Money Follows the Person, a Republican New Freedom initiative that is liberating thousands of disabled people from institutions, but that program is ending because of Congressional inaction.

3. The ACA established the Community First Choice Option a Medicaid option that incentivizes states to FREE OUR PEOPLE from nursing facilities and institutions.

4. The ACA authorized accessibility standards for Diagnostic Medical Equipment so people with disabilities could get access to preventative healthcare screenings and appropriate diagnostic testing.

Congress is acting swiftly to repeal the ACA, but most members of Congress have no idea that these provisions were even included in the ACA!  We cannot rely on other groups to defend our interests and issues.  The Disability Community - itself - needs to act now!

TAKE ACTION

1. Do this electronic action alert to tell Congress to preserve these disability-specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

2. PROMOTE and SHARE this link to get as many other people as possible to TAKE ACTION on this issue!

3. Sign on your ORGANIZATION to this letter urging Congress to save these disability-specific provisions in the ACA.

4. Send your OWN letter to Congressional Leadership and the people that represent you in Congress.  Use the text from the sign on letter to make this easy and send us a copy at mmoore@cdrnys.org.

TWEET!

Whether you like him or not, President-elect Trump demonstrated the power of Twitter.  US policy is now being made in 140 characters or less.  We should leverage our special media voice and our social media networks to get the word out.  Although Congressional leadership doesn't follow Twitter closely and respond, the President-elect does.  If we can't get through to Congress, we should ask @realDonaldTrump to help us make the case.

#ACA included Money Follows the Person- Republican initiative giving #NewFreedom to #disabled. @realDonaldTrump #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

#ACA included Community First Choice- giving #Liberty to #disabled. @realDonaldTrump #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

#Liberty of #Disabled shouldn't be culture war collateral damage. @realDonaldTrump help get Congress to #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

#ACA gave #Disabled women access to mammography. @realDonaldTrump help get Congress to #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

#ACA stops discrimination against #disabled by insurance. @realDonaldTrump help get Congress to #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

@realDonaldTrump #ACA's Community First Choice Option let Disabled people Stay in our homes! #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

@realDonaldTrump #ACA included the #GOP created Money Follows the Person Initiative giving Disabled ppl Freedom. #ReadB4Repeal #CripTheVote

ADDITIONAL ADVOCACY TOOLS

We know it is easier when you have a toolkit to work with.  We have crafted a press release you can use and are finalizing some talking points to reference when the press calls you.  We will add additional tools as this campaign continues.  Here is the toolkit link.

SOURCE: Center for Disability Rights, (CDR)
                  Access Living, Center for Independent Living in Chicago